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History challenge...

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  • History challenge...

    Hi Everyone..

    I have been challenged for and event to create a "period" pearl stringing technique class.. MUST be methods for stringing pearls pre 1600 AD .

    Forthe following countries, Persia, India, China, Tibet, Mongolia any country active along the silk road pre 1600 AD.

    This includes Items such as what materials were used, Horse hair? Silk? Spun cammel hair? Metal if so what metals. how were the pearls attached. were knots used between the pearls? were tehr any specific methods used for tying knots?

    I am looking for specific written documentation for this kind of thing not just "legend says" or "history indicates" I need a specific in Sir Randals travels from Persia to China in visiting jewelers for the king there he noticed that they used spun cammel down blah blah blah.... Or this miniature from blah blah done in 1547 shows a jeweler stringing pearls......

    This one is a toughie! Please any and all help guidance drinks are greatly appreciated I am in dire need of Ideas I am all tapped out! .

    Thank you all in advance


  • #2
    Ash: Take a look at If an historical distinction is made between beads and pearls, they would know. I have a bit more information on horse hair knotting if anyone is interested.
    Pretty Panda pic by nlerner on her U.S. excursion last year, San Diego Zoo.[/SIZE][/SIZE]


    • #3

      Thanks for the Thought of that site.... I know the lady who runs that site. She is a nice person, awesome and tallented beader but beader as in Beads seed beads pre 1600 is her interest and Forte to be more specific, not pearls..

      Her documentation( whoile awesome) is for beading not specific to pearls. techniques are ones she created...

      Part of the challenge made to me is the specifics.. Pearl stringing techniques from teh "MIDDLE and Far east pre 1600" There in lies the rub....

      BTW the techniques for beading are to keep beads on garb in the wash and believe me it works!!!!

      Thanks again... back to an imposible search!


      • #4
        I thought you were probably familiar with this site. I ran across it, geez, a while back and I had actually forgotten about it until you mentioned the challenge. I wasn't sure if beads and pearls were treated differently historically. It would make sense to me that knotting would be considered a sub-genre of adornment, clothing and hair adornment being primary. It would be interesting to learn the origin of knotting, whether it is Chinese, or Japanese. How long is the hair of a camel anyway? Help her Obi-Wan Valeria, you're her only hope!
        Pretty Panda pic by nlerner on her U.S. excursion last year, San Diego Zoo.[/SIZE][/SIZE]


        • #5
          Hi Knotty,

          That site is great. and as for beads/Pearls it depends on what region and timeframe... (event to make it more difficult) If pearls and beads were treated as the same. I can fins couching methods from some tapestries wehre perls are hanging on by a thread (European in origin.)

          Clothing and hair adornment was not always primary adornment again its region, and year specific.

          The cammel thing.. Cammels apparently have two coats same as some breeds of dogs Over coat which are the coarser hairs and undercoat or the down coat are soft and fuzzy... and after processing can be hand spun into yarn/thread...Just like Wool, cotton, silk.

          I have no Idea how long it is I just saw a lady form my local group spinning on her top whirl spindle the cammel down and it was really cool and really thing.. close to sewing thread thin!!!!!

          Again thanks for the help...

          Off to search the web...



          • #6
            Funny Knotty!

            Were peal strands that much available? I would think not... simply considering how much more scarce pearls would have been. Other settings might have been more common, and that would imply setting in metal of sorts.

            Somewhat more recent examples of pearl embroidery - using seed pearls - I am familiar with hands on were made with white horse hair, of which strands can bee a meter long, no problem. However, I don't think anyone can guarantee that the pearls had never been re-attached, so... we've got a problem there, haven't we. In what I've seen, the seed pearls were strung separately, then the row attached with a second thread to the cloth to created pearl contours around figures and patterns of embroidery. That's not terribly exotic, the seed pearl parures of Victorian times are done in a similar manner and same horse hair, only difference being the base: pierced MOP... you know. Another use of seed pearls in similar pieces would be to make fringe borders with single pearls or clusters of tree - again, nothing exotic, there would be knots between the pearls and the thread hidden between layers of cloth.

            For more, I'll have to search .


            • #7
              Silk: It's my understand you don't want spun silk as it's fragmented and easily breaks. You want silk which is unraveled from the cocoon. I have NO idea who does that, but God bless them!

              Camels: LOL. I wasn't thinking of spinning the undercoat. So that's how they do it! I thought they would pull strands like they do from horses. And another God bless them for that one too. I understand cleaning the horse hair is awful!

              First adornments: Flowers in the hair, shells strung on blades of grass, I would think that happened before cro-magnum learned about fire.
              Pretty Panda pic by nlerner on her U.S. excursion last year, San Diego Zoo.[/SIZE][/SIZE]


              • #8
                Hi Knotty,

                Silk comes in Rovings, like wool for spinning, or a "cap" for spinning. I am not that interested in de-gumming the cocoon and making the roving myself, thought about it but... Last thing I need is another craft to do. and a few ounces of silk is not expensive, the broken cucoons asre what they use to make Silk Dupioni fabric. Notice the slubs in it.. that is from a cucoon where a worm has broken the threads of the cocoon...

                Yes they did re-use pearls as well a fauxs, as far as seed pearl strug separately that is the couching method.. I use that one lots and unless teh strign breaks it works. I can find plenty of period documetation and extant pieces for that... however what I have found there is no eveidence of knots between the pearls in period pieces... you can see where the pearls were supposed to be abd the pearls "hanging" on the threads. Maybe the Victorians knew better..

                Now maybe you may have some stuff I have not come across yet? That would be awesome...

                I am looking specifically for Non-European pre 1600 stringing Methods methods... Persian, China, India, Ceylon, Bahrain..

                Blast it all.. I am still on the search for period bow drills as well I have some woodcuts but somewhre there has to be (I keep hoping) a descripotion of a bow drill! So I can correctly make mine!

                Back to the Hunt....

                Last edited by Ash; 09-04-2007, 02:42 PM.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by knotty panda
                  Silk: It's my understand you don't want spun silk as it's fragmented and easily breaks. You want silk which is unraveled from the cocoon.

                  Originally posted by knotty panda
                  I have NO idea who does that, but God bless them!
                  It sounds hard but it isn't. My grandmother was the last in my family to spun and weave silk by hand and I've seen how things worked. She did not deal with spinning the broken cocoons. The secret is that the silk threads from cocoons unravel by themselves in boiling water - so what's left is fishing them and pulling slowly as the cocoons unravel in the heat. The result is a very long thread made of half a dozen cocoons unraveled together... if you do not over-heat them, or break the threads, that is. If you ignore the smell, it's fun. I still have silk woven by her and her mother - my great grandmother on my mother's side. One of the things I will probably regret forever is... being born too late to have caught these women young enough to teach me how to do these useless, delightful things.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Satine De La Courcel
                    I am looking specifically for Non-European pre 1600 stringing Methods methods...Persian, China, India, Ceylon, Bahrain..
                    Got that. The previous description was reffering to embroidery in the neo-Byzantine tradition that would have been practiced from Central Asia throughout the Ottoman territory into Southern and Eastern Europe cca. 1500.

                    Not precisely what you were asking for, but 'thought I would mention rather than not. I will look around for the specific request too .

                    Originally posted by Satine De La Courcel
                    I am still on the search for period bow drill...
                    The model doesn't seem to have changed since prehistory. But what could have possibly be the bits mde of? Hm... How do you come with these questions !?


                    • #11
                      Hi Valeria,

                      I went though Everything picture wise I had... I had before I posted... I thougth of Byzantine stuff as well but discounted it beacuse it was well into Europe as well.. ( Hmm I may want to re-think that)

                      LOL!. How do I come up with these Questions? I just joined my two passions, Historical re-creation/Re-enactment and Pearls together...

                      I am baffled on the Bits as well. Eventually I hope to creat my own Workable Bow drill
                      and use it to drill holes in my own pearls. For competition. The more Period references one can find and use to "prove" this techniques and that methood were used in period the better.. shows one is doing their "homework."